Sunday, December 30, 2012

A B C's of 2012

A friend sent an ABC list as her christmas letter for her family ~ so I am stealing borrowing this idea....

A  ~ all our children are a year older, James 29, Rob & Andy 25, Allen 23, Katie 19, Will 18, Amy 16, & Bryant 22

B ~  busy, busy, busy ~ work, homeschooling, ballet lessons, wedding plans, visiting....

C ~ Christ centered lives
Chickens ~ 6 Buff Orpingtons 
Cooking for church dinners
Cupcakes ~ Amy is an expert cupcake baker & decorator

D ~ Donna is beginning her last official year as a homeschooling mom
drivers ~ our last 2 children have their lerners drivers licenses

E ~ Engagement ~ Allen & Jennifer are engaged
engagement party for Andy & AmyKate

F ~ fun, family times
Fair projects for the state fair

G ~ Greg is even closer to retirement!  And counting the days
Greek ~ Greg know the alphabet...the rest of us are trying to learn it

H ~ Honduras Mission Trip last January for Greg, Donna, & Will
homeschooling~ Amy & Will are seniors 
Hurricane ~ lots of rain & wind, thankfully no damage

I ~ ITP Bryants illness diagnosed in Dec.

J ~ James graduated from his "welding" course at our local community college
jigsaw puzzles 
JoAnn's ~ we finally got one in Jackson!

K ~ Keeper at Home ~ Donna's full time job and she loves it

L ~ lots of love in our family!
Lake ~ we had a fun time at the lake with Gregs family, and 5 of our children (includes AmyKate)

M ~ Missions trips & opportunities
Memphis ~ Amy & Will participated with our church youth group in Street Reach and loved it
Music ~ we joined choir this year and church and love it

N ~ new friendships & renewing old ones
Northern Tool ~ Greg & Will now have a local NT for guy shopping

O ~ Oreo, Amys black & white chihuahua ~ thinks he is the "leader of the pack"

P ~ pneumonia...Greg had a very bad, scary bout of pneumonia and ended up hospitalized for 6 days
Passport ~ Gregs was damaged from a Haiti Mission Trip and he was delayed going to Honduras with us.  He applied for a new passport in Atlanta on a Monday and got 4 hours later!

Q ~ Amy & Donna are learning more about quilting

R ~ Robert!!!!! We have a grandson!
Rob got a 4.0 in his Masters work this semester
winning Ribbons at the State Fair

S ~ swimming in the pool in the summer
Gregs sleep apnea was diagnosed

T ~ wood turning ~ Greg started turning pens on his lathe
Target hired AmyKate, she begins in May!
Thanksgiving ~ everyone was able to be there but Allen & Jennifer

U ~ unexpected illnesses
Uganda ~ our nephew Billy will be a missionary there for 7 months next year

V ~ vet visits and vet bills...a C Section for our Licorice & "boy surgery" for our male puppies
Van to Virginia ~ 7 people in our van driving 800 crafts, sewing supplies, woodworking stuff ~ we were crammed in there, I was thankful for sitting in the front with Greg

W ~ Wedding plans for Andy & Amy Kate
Witnessing in El Progresso, Honduras
Water Slides ~ watching my little friends overcoming their fear of the slide

X ~ eXcited about the Lords working in our lives
eXtra blessed

Y ~ yelling at football games (in person & on tv)

Z ~ zipline...Will took his first treetop zipline ride in Honduras

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy 6 months!

A very Happy 6 month birthday greeting to our little grandson!

Robert is a little love, and very sweet, special baby to us!
Our first grandchild!

These pictures were taken Thanksgiving Weekend!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Twas the morning of Christmas (with apologies to Clement Moore)

Twas the morning of Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even the mouse because we let him go at the Pepsi plant that afternoon.
The nativity sets sans wisemen were featured on the chimney with care,
In hopes that biblical authenticity soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plum and oreo danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my new blue drawers,
Had settled our brains for a long winter’s snores.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang in the bed and elbowed mamma's ribs, to see what was the matter.
Away to the hallway I flew like a surprisingly quick old guy with many days,
Grabbed my mag light and threw on my red penguin pjs.

I sprang to the stairs, to my kids I did shout,
And away they all ran down the stairs in haste no doubt.
More rapid than eagles with kennels they came,
And I whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Amy! now, Will! now, Licorice and Hershey!
On, Chip! On, Oreo! on, on James out in the RV!
To the safety of the closet! to the interior wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

The moon on the reflection in of the hard-falling rain
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects thru the door pane.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But another bolt of lightning, and some really loud thunder.

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the leaves, they flew,
With wind and rain, maybe some hail stones too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard without much strain
The banging and pounding of really heavy rain.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney more water fell with a bound.

My children all accounted for, and the house not ablaze,
Mamma and I settled down and thanked the Lord with praise.
But I heard the kids exclaim, ‘ere they dove out of sight,
"What a way to start a Christmas morn ending a good-night!"

My ultra poetic husband came up with that ~ he left out the part about the pictures falling off the walls in different rooms when our house shook from the lightning strike somewhere in the neighborhood.  However that was a stunning, creative Jackson rendition of our day!  I was laughing so hard my eyes were leaking ~ it wasn't this funny yesterday!  Donna

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Our Simple Holiday

We've been taking it easy this holiday season!
We've bought and consumed lots of chocolate ~ indulged in Amy's cupcake creations ~ did a little shopping ~ went into Walmart yesterday just was fun to watch the goofy last minute shoppers, like they forgot there was a celebration day coming up! ~ bought some Uno cards & played many hands ~ were jolted awake at 6:45 this morning by a bolt of lightning hitting very close, so close it knocked picture frames off the wall ~ yesterday went to McAllisters for lunch & Greg cooked dinner ~ James cooked breakfast ~ Greg cooked lunch, shrimp & grits (Donna hasn't cooked since breakfast yesterday!) ~ went bowling on Sunday using our Groupon deal...and they let James bowl for free (our coupon was for 4) and they let us finish our 2nd game even though our time was up ~ worked on cross stitch ~ played many games of Flow on the kindle ~ started playing words with friends on the Kindle ~ started reading an Amish book (The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis is really, really good) ~ won a game of Blokus ~ talked to Katie & Robert yesterday ~  found out Greg's cousin and his wife are having a baby girl ~ talked to family ~ downloaded some free machine embroidery designs to the computer ~ been on FB some ~ Greg & Will installed a new deep, single dish kitchen sink for me & Amy ~ listened to rain...lots and lots of rain here in Miss. ~ crocheted some Granny squares ~ and ate more chocolate!

Hope everyone is having a great Family Day!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sausage Balls Recipe

Sausage Balls

Whisk together
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

add in 
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Stir well to coat the cheese

the add
1 pound raw sausage
3 tbsp. melted butter

Then ~
squish, mash, stir, incorporate all the ingredients together ~ clean hands are the best mixers!

Roll mixture into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


This is adapted from a recipe on the Martha Stewart site.  It was very tasty~ and didn't rely on bisquick.


Friday, December 21, 2012


The closer it gets to Dec. 25th ~
do people automatically forget how to...
park their cars?
push a cart through a store?
behave courteously?
watch where they are going?
 Just some things I was pondering today!

And another thing....
to take advantage of all the great deals designed to save me money ~ 
I need more money to buy the stuff to save the money!

Last night we surprised our little friend Ragen at her birthday dinner in "Mexico" as she calls El Portillo, a mexican restaurant.  Yummy dinner, good friends & chocolate chip cookie cake!

We had a nice morning out with 4 of our children ~
eating breakfast
shopping for birthday presents
taking advantage of a couple of deals at Michaels
and getting some goodies at Lowe's
Greg bought me a deep, single dish sink for my kitchen!
It will be great for all of our oversized roasters & pans.
And its something I have wanted for 2 years!

Our weather has gotten colder again ~ and the arthritis is acting up.
I am waiting for the Aleeve to start working!

And I got to cash in some Swagbucks and order the 2 Beverly Lewis books that Amy and I have been wanting....the Kindle version was $8.50 or so dollars on each ~ the paper version would have been $16 + dollars 1/2 price!
If you want more information on Swagbucks...please click on my button on the right sidebar~  We will both earn credit when you use this as your search engine on the computer.
This year I have earned 10 $5 amazon gift cards!
And they can be used for anything on Amazon ~ just like cash.
There are many other gift cards available also...this is just the one I always get!
Its FREE to join and download the toolbar!

Hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Truth for Thursdays

 Luke 2: 6-14

So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 
For there is born to you this day in the cit of David, a Savoir, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.  
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 

Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Church Dinner

Tonight is our annual Wed. before christmas Church Fellowship meal.  Basically, its a potluck meal on steriods! 

Our directions from the Pastor are "clean out the freezer & serve all the leftovers".  So, Sunday, we cleaned out the freezer ~ set stuff in the fridge to thaw & tossed stuff that didn't need to be kept.  In the tossing pile were crumbs...formerly cookies, expired hot dog & hamburger buns left from a cookout in the spring, a ziploc bag full of a pizza blob, etc.

So tonight for dinner we are rewarming, preparing, putting out ~ Ham (left from thanksgiving meal), rice & gravy, spaghetti (sauce left from Sept. meal), chicken strips (don't know where they came from but someone put them in the church freezer and we were told to use them), sweet potatoes, and rolls.  Quite an eclectic assortment.  We had chicken strips and spaghetti on the tables last year too and the children loved them ~ it was something familiar and comforting to the little ones. 

Everyone else that attends will be bringing side dishes, homemade desserts, breads, etc.  Amy made cupcakes to take for the dessert table.

Greg will be involved in an all day meeting and can't leave until 3 or after.  So this one is up to me, Amy & Will.  We are taking my turkey roaster and large crockpot to help with the warming/keeping warm.  We've got to fix all the drinks ~ tea ~ sweet & unsweet,  koolaid or lemonade, and water.  We've got to make sure all is thawed, then set to warm in the roaster, crockpot, or chafing dishes, cook spaghetti noodles, cook the chicken strips.  In between times, we will be cleaning out the fridge.  Folks have dinners/get togethers at the church and stuff gets stuck in the fridge and forgotten.  Once a month or so, we try to purge the expired stuff and get rid of the little bits that are in there.

Update ~ Bryant is much better and has been released from the hospital.  His platelet count jumped up to 78,000 since Sat. ~ and even though that still 1/2 of normal, its not as critical or dangerous as before.  I don't know what will be the next step.
Amy Kate's mom is having more tests on Thurs. ~ please be praying as these test results are needed to know how to proceed and exactly what they are dealing with.

James' birthday was celebrated~
Allens fiancee Jennifer celebrated her birthday yesterday too ~ in the bed with a tummy bug (yuck)
Rob & Andy are on Sat.!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy Birthday!

29 years ago today....I gave birth for the first time!

To a 7 pound, 4 ounce blonde headed baby boy with Blue Eyes.

His first name was in honor of his father and 2 grandfathers ~ all of whom shared the first name James.
But unlike all of them ~ I wasn't going to shorten his name or call him by his middle name like his Dad and grandfathers.

He had some nicknames as a tiny baby and one of them has stuck around for the last 29 years ~
I made the comment to my daddy one morning that when James was laying in the crib he would scruff around on the sheets ~ scratching & wiggling.
Daddy started calling him Scruffy & the name has stuck!  I still call him that sometimes.

Happy Birthday Scruffy!

James 4:7-8
"Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to Gad and He will draw near to you"
James 1:17-18
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father or lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His Creatures"

And a very Happy Birthday to our Jennifer ~ Allens Fiance'.
You are a blessing in Allens life and have blessed me with your love for him.
I am praying the Lord gives you a wonderful day!
We love you!
(side note: I had 2 names picked out for Allen when I was pregnant with him...Allen~named after my Uncle Allen & his girl name was, all these years later, I am getting my Jennifer!) 

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Last 5 Days

When I posted the  "Stress" beating suggestions on Friday ~ it was because #1 I had just found them again & #2 I needed to hear them.  While I try to find the blessings in situations ~ sometimes its harder than others.  And thus begins our last 5 days.

Wed. one of our sons went to completely absolve a court case and close that chapter in his life ~ it didn't happen.  He/We were all shocked & dismayed with the outcome.  It was totally unexpected and it ain't over yet.  

Friday ~ while the school shooting in Connecticut didn't directly affect our is a horrible senseless tragedy that is impacting every family in our nation.  I cannot begin to imagine the pain/hurt/confusion/questions/anger/loss, the parents of these 20 children are experiencing.  Their babies went to school on Friday morning & will never come home.  My prayers are with the families.  And a family from our church lost their husband/father to cancer.  The wife of this man has MS and they have a 3rd grade daughter.  Tragic situation.

Sat. was full of a little shopping, working on a gift for some little friends (Greg is making doll beds for their AG dolls), taking our youth for a shopping trip to Sams (they earned money rolling newspapers to buy food for the food pantry), a date with Greg.  Then the texts begin rolling in from Katie.  Long story short ~ her husband Bryant is being treated for a very low platelet count and is hospitalized.  We are praying test results, answers, and solutions will quickly come in, now that its not the weekend.

Sunday, I was talking to Amy Kate (Andy's fiance) and found out her mother had some health testing done last week and will get results today or tomorrow.  This could potentially be very bad news.

We could all sit here and wallow in self pity & despair ~ and many times its a temptation.  But I do know that the Lord is in control. HE alone knows the outcome of all these situations.  

This week we are praying for answers...
for solutions...
for wrongs to be righted...
for courage & strength...
for test results...
for job opportunities...
for comfort...
for peace...

And I am thankful for...
hearing Roberts voice over the phone...
for communication...
for kind words at church...
for hugs & prayers...
for phone calls...
for praying friends...
for a date night with my husband (& a cool new restaurant we found)...
for Greg finding 4 new pairs of slacks on sale...
projects nearing completion...
for our 3 oldest sons having birthdays these week...
for our Jennifer (Allens fiance) whose birthday is also this week...
for a Lord & Savior who cares about the tiny details in our lives & the huge catastrophes that threaten to swamp us.

29 years ago today, I was pregnant with my firstborn son ~ and 29 years ago tomorrow night, I became a first time Mom!  And what a roller coaster these 29 years have been!  
I love you, James!

Friday, December 14, 2012

36 Christian Ways to Reduce Stress

Someone sent me this years ago...the original author is unknown ~ but I wanted to share since they were good tips.

1. Pray
2. Go to bed on time.
3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
4. Say "NO" to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.
5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
6. Simplify and unclutter your life.
7. Less is more.
8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.
9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.
10. Take one day at a time.
11. Separate worries from concerns.  If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety.
12. Live within your budget.  Don't use a credit card for ordinary purchases.
13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, and extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut) This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
15. Do something for the kid in you everyday.
16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.
17. Get enough rest.
18.  Eat right.
19. Get organized so everything has its place.
20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.
23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot.  Try to nip small problems in the bud.  Don't wait until its time to bed to try and pray.
24. Make friends with Godly people.
25. Keep a folder of favorite Scripture on hand.
26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good "Thank you Jesus."
27. Laugh
28. Laugh some more.
29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.
30. Develop a forgiving attitude.
31. Be kind to unkind people ~ they probably need it the most.
32. Sit on your ego.
33. Talk less; listen more.
34. Slow down.
35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
36. Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before.

I need to work on remembering & doing most of these daily.  I am getting lots of practice with #4 ~ much to the dismay of many people.  I've learned I can't do it all....nor should I.  #13 is in place after I locked myself out of my car twice ~ I've done it once since I put a key in my wallet, what a relief to know I can get into the car.  And why does it always happen at Walmart?  #19 is great ~ now to put it to use all the time!  #30 & #31 are more difficult some days more than others.  

Hope this helps someone!  Happy Friday! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Simple Shoebox Gifts

Packing shoebox gifts is a fun ministry for young & old alike.
We "collect" box stuffers all year long which enables us to take advantage of sales throughout the months.  Last year, we decided to budget our shoebox money monthly and purposed to shop for the boxes each month.  This worked out great some months & not so great other months.

If you can free up $10 or so in your monthly budget ~ you could pack 11 boxes in a year (Jan. - Nov. collection week)  Thats only 2 less starbucks trips or 2 less McDonalds meals per month.
For $10 your box could hold the following....(just an example of how far $10 would go)
coloring book $1.00
Crayons .25
stuffed animal or small doll 1.00
toothbrush .25
toothpaste 1.00
soap .33
washcloth .50
game or puzzle 1.00
flip flops 1.00
slinky 1.00
hard candy 1.00
craft kit 1.00
plastic shoebox to hold all the goodies 1.00
Total $10.33

We buy lots of our goodies at Dollar Tree, so thats what I based my prices on.  These could go up or down depending on your area.  The .33 soap is based on 3 bars for $1.00 ~ that would go down to a quarter if you found 4 bars for $1.00
Toothbrushes and holders can routinely be found in multipacks at dollar tree.  With coupons, the toothpaste could be well less than $1.00.  You can buy the big multipack of washcloths at Walmart and split the 15 cloths between 15 boxes. 

In our boxes for each age range we include ~ notebook or notepad, crayons, pencils & sharpener, toothbrush & toothpaste, washcloth & soap (one year we crocheted the washcloths), combs, candy.

For boys you can add ~ hot wheels type cars, tool sets (older boys), cards, puzzles, games, packs of dinosaurs or animals, stuffed animal for the younger kids, balls, small frisbees, flashlights/batteries, etc.

For girls you can include ~ small dolls, sewing/mending kits, hair scrunchies/barrettes, craft kits, small totes or purses (this year we put in purses made from placemats), plastic lacing & beads, balls,  etc.

 The age ranges guidelines for the gift tags are
Boys 2-4, 6-10, 12-14
Girls 2-4, 6-10, 12-14

We tried to be very organized this year ~ but we got to the day of our family box packing party and had no toothpaste.  Its a good thing Dollar Tree/Walmart is conveniently located.

Back to school sales are the best time to buy spiral notebooks & crayons.  You can usually get the notebooks for .10 or .15 each at Target or Walmart.  And crayons for .20 to .25.  I buy all that I need then for the coming year, both for our family's use and the shoeboxes.  Staples/Office Depot usually runs the pencils very cheaply during this time also.  I get the pencil sharpeners at Dollar Tree in a multipack and split them up.

Many times you can find little cars, craft supplies, balls, totes, etc. in multipacks for $1 and you can split between several boxes.

We usually set a "family goal" for how many boxes we want to pack.
Many folks pack one boy & one girl box, or 1 box for each age range, or each child in the family packs their own box, or one box for each month.  

When James was in Scouts and working on his Eagle Scout project ~ he chose this ministry.  His goal was 200 or 250 shoeboxes (I don't remember the exact number, this was 11 years ago).  Through generous donations, lots of box wrapping, and boy scout packing parties ~ he had approx. 275 boxes to donate.  Another  50-75 were added to his count when the folks at drop off found out it was for an Eagle project.  And these boxes were packed full.

I've found a new inspiration for my boxes on Pinterest.  Just type in Operation Christmas Child & see what pops up.  Lots of great ideas & fun!

What not to put in your boxes ~ liquids of any kind, war toys/soldiers/guns/tanks, chocolate, food items.  

What I have thought of for next years boxes ~ making lightweight sheets for covers, fabric/sewing kit/ thread/ zippers for older girls, hard plastic cups,  pillowcase dresses for little girls, t shirts.

To read more about this awesome ministry, please go to

If you would like to be a part of this for this year....its not too late.  You can click on the link & build a box online.  The deliveries for this year have started all over the globe & more deliveries will be made in the coming months!

My blog friend, Jessica went with OCC to the Dominican Republic last week to deliver boxes ~ you can read about her adventures here.....

So my next question is............
How can you NOT pack a box?
Just 1 box could impact one childs life forever!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Operation Christmas Child
An awesome ministry we are blessed to have a part of!  We are already planning our boxes for next year!

Angel Navy Wife: Operation Christmas Child homemade gift ideas
Precious children thrilled with their shoebox gifts~And its past shoebox time for this year, but I love this image of these happy little faces with their boxes!

Operation Christmas Child
I am praying the Lord shows us many more ways to be "open handed" in the coming year!  A blogpost about shoebox ideas tomorrow!  Its so much fun!
An image of a child receiving an Operation Christmas Child shoe box:  Street children in Ukraine - living in holes in the ground - c2006. This is why I continue to fill  boxes.
I can't even imagine ~ this child in Ukraine lives in a hole (maybe sewer) in the ground and gets a shoebox gift.  This image alone is motivation to keep packing shoeboxes!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Scheduled Simplicity

Hummmmm, thats a pretty catchy title.
And probably very confusing.

We have been/are trying to simplify our lives, our celebrations, our days.
But in doing so, sometimes days can just disappear into thin air and we've done nothing we wanted to during our school break.

So yesterday, we devised a plan ~ for this week.
Yesterday was laundry day, at lunch we finished watching Home Alone, and then started playing **"Blokus".  That game turned into a marathon with a dollar store chocolate run thrown in for good measure.  Then last night we started our "Its Not Greek To Me" lessons on video ~ now to learn the Greek alphabet and symbols.

Today is going to be making Chocolate Chip Cookies & watching another movie ~ maybe some sewing.

Wed. is cupcake baking & potato soup making for our Choir Party.  And whatever else we want to do.

Thursday is Gingerbread House Day ~ Granny bought the kids kits after the holidays last year & we bought more candy to add to the kits yesterday.  Amy is also making extra icing on Wed. for them to use on the houses on Thursday.

Friday is house cleaning & then Shopping Day.  We are hitting the craft stores, lunch out, and other stores for some fun.  And the JoAnns 3 day sale starts on Friday ~ not that I NEED anything but it sure is fun to go.

So why schedule these things?  These are a priority for us.  We want to make sure we get done what we wanted to.  I am sure we will be looking for some items to use in our fair crafts during all the sales everyone is having.  And starting to make some items and check them off our list.  The weather outside is wet, cold, and nasty ~ so there won't be any outside activities planned till that clears up.

**Blokus is a hugely fun board game!  All ages can play together and enjoy.  We honestly played about 9 or 10 games yesterday.  Laughed tons.  Amy started throwing around the phrase "world domination" and the battle was on.  We each won and there were lots of ties ~~~ and I do think she won more than Will and I.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Its a New Week

Our busy church weekend is completed.  We had a 2+ hour choir rehersal on Sat. afternoon. Sang in the Sunday morning service.  And had our holiday performance last night.  Everything went well & we had a wonderful time worshiping our Lord through song with our friends. 

And we are bushed!  It was a fun but tiring time.  I am very glad we are having our Dec. school break right now.  Thursday was our last day until Jan.  We've got some crafting to do, good food to cook, a few parties to attend, some holiday movies to watch that we've recorded, and 3 sons with birthdays. 

The weather has been mild and wet for the last several weeks.  This morning, we woke up to a thunderstorm and the temps will be dropping all day.  Tonight will be around 30 degrees.  This will be quite a change from our nights in the 50's.

Back to menu planning.....

Sunday night ~ we let Little Ceasars cook our dinner & Amy made us mini chocolate pies for dessert
Monday night ~ roast, onions, carrots (in the crockpot), rice & gravy
Tuesday night ~ Chicken enchilada's, refried beans, rice
Wed. night ~ choir get together at church ~ several of us decided to do different soups, mine is Potato Soup
Thursday night ~ Zatarains Chicken Alfredo
Friday night ~ Hot Dogs, Hashbrowns, & baked beans
Sat. night ~ maybe we can have a date night!  Amy will be at a ballet performance with friends & Will is attending the youth holiday party.
Sunday night ~ we are celebrating James' 29th birthday ~ he's requested Pork loin (Greg is going to cook it in his new greaseless turkey fryer), baked potatoes, a vegie, & dessert!

Hope everyone has an awesome week!

Friday, December 7, 2012

New Laundry Detergent

A while back, my friend Angel was talking about her powdered laundry detergent that she has been making.  I had been thinking about switching from the homemade liquid we have used for 3-4 years because I thought it just wasn't cleaning as well as it should.  I asked for the "recipe", and mixed up my first batch ~ we love it.  It cleans better and is less trouble than the liquid.  I can't give a cost breakdown for a batch or per cost breakdown for each load, because I used some items I already had in the mixing.  I do think it will cost a little more per load than the other because it has some more ingredients added.  Here is the new one.....

1 box Borax (3 lb. 4 oz)
1 box Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (3 lb. 7 oz.)
2 bars of Zote Soap**
1 container Oxy Clean (3 lb.)
1 ~ 4 lb. box baking soda
1-2 bottles of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener **

Use 2 tablespoons per load of laundry.

Mix all of the above in a large bucket (I use a 5 gal. bucket I bought for $1 in the Walmart bakery dept) .

**The first time I made this, I used Ivory bar soap (its super easy to grate/chop/annihilate the bars in a food prcessor).  Yesterday, I used 1 Ivory bar and 1 Fels Naptha bar ~ ivory grinds down finer than the Fels Naptha.  If you don't have a food can grate them down with a cheese grater.

** While the Purex crystals smell wonderful, I don't use 2 containers.  I use 1.  And in the dryer, I tear a fabric softener sheet in 1/2 and use for each load.  I do not like the electricity that builds up in clothes in the winter time!

As with any recipe, I look for store brands of the ingredients.  Both Kroger and Walmart have their own brand of the oxyclean & the baking soda.  We did find a huge bag of baking soda at Sam's Club and have used it for various things for 2 years ~ its a 7 lb. bag, so it lasts a long time.

I don't know how many loads of laundry, 1 batch will do.  I did a 1/2 batch the first time, because thats what I had supplies for ~ then yesterday I did a full batch + more cause I wanted to use all the supplies I had on hand.  BUT, I do know that buying all the supplies, still cost less than one of the big bottles of liquid Tide from Sam's.  My detergent is stored in my 2 purex bottles (the cap is 2 tablespoons), some tupperware containers, and empty plastic tubs with lids. 

One more tip ~ when you mix this up, it helps to layer the ingredients in the bucket a little at a time ~ makes it easier to mix and distribute everything throughout.

Katie took home a container of this at Thanksgiving and likes it better also.

OH, you may want to mix this up in a ventilated area....stirring all this powder does create a "cloud" in the kitchen.  We did it inside yesterday because of the rain ~ and had to turn on the ceiling fan & open the kitchen door.

I am linking up with.....

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Truth for Thursday

Old Testament Prophecies of the Messiah

Isaiah 7:14
" Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel."

Isaiah 9: 6-7

" For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderul, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.  Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgement and justice.  From that time forward, even forever.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."

There are many more prophesies 

that point to the coming of God's Son ~ Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
One of the amazing things about these particular verses, is they were prophesied 100's of years before Christ's birth.

The  Old Testament points to Jesus Christ.
The  New Testament is Jesus, His ministry, His Saving Grace & His fulfillment of the Old Testament.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

CHOCOLATE ~ repost from Nov. 2009!

Who doesn't love chocolate? (Well, there is James and that whole milk allergy thing, but we won't count him) Amy and I are both self-diagnosed Choco-holics...I think we can get Katie to join us too. But I am not joining any Choco-holics Anonymous group...I don't want to be cured! Many years ago, I got an email justifying Chocolate as a Vegetable...but I can't find it now. It made perfect sense to me! I just googled "Chocolate is a Vegetable" and found the following. Not exactly what I had read before...but this is still logical and well-thought out (at least for chocolate lovers). Hope you enjoy this educational blog entry!

Chocolate is a Vegetable
Chocolate is derived from cocoa beans.
Bean = vegetable.
Sugar is derived from either sugar cane or sugar BEETS.
Both of them are plants, in the vegetable category.
Thus, chocolate is a vegetable.
To go one step further,
chocolate candy bars also contain milk,
which is dairy.
So candy bars are a health food.
Chocolate-covered raisins, cherries,
orange slices and strawberries
all count as fruit,
so eat as many as you want.
spelled backward is"DESSERTS"
Now its time for breakfast, guess I will go make some hot chocolate and start the day off on a healthy note!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Diet Time

Most of us overindulged at Thanksgiving & with more holiday parties around the corner ~ I thought some Diet "help" would be appropriate.

I was cleaning up my recipe binder and I found this "Dieting Under Stress" tip sheet.
I wish I could take credit for this but alas, I can't and don't know who the credit goes too.
I will STRESS that no substitutions are allowed on this diet.

This diet is designed to help you cope with the stress that builds up during the day!


1 Grapefruit
1 slice whole wheat toast, dry
6 oz. skim milk


4 oz. lean broiled chicken breast
1 cup steamed spinac
1 cup herb tea
1 oreo cookie

Afternoon snack
Rest of the Oreos in the package
 2 pints rocky road ice cream
1 jar hot fudge sauce
nuts, cherries, whipped cream


2 loaves garlic bread with cheese
large sausage, mushroom & cheese pizza
4 cans or 1 lg. pitcher beer
3 milky way or snickers candy bars

Late Evening

entire frozen cheesecake eaten directly from freezer

 Rules for this diet
1. It you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories!
2.  If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, the calories in the candy bar are cancelled out by the diet soda!
3.  When you eat with someone else, calories don't count if you eat less than they do.
4. Food used for medicinal purposes NEVER count such as hot chocolate, brandy, toast, and sara lee cheesecake.
 5. If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner.
6. Movie related foods do not have additional calories because they are part of the entire entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel, such as milk duds, buttered popcorn, junior mints, red hots, and tootsie rolls.
7. Cookie pieces contain no calories.  The process of breaking causes calorie leakage.
8. Things licked off of knives and spoons have no calories in the process of preparing  something.

And something very important ~
foods that have the same color have the same number of calories ~
spinach & pistachio ice cream
mushrooms & white chocolate

Chocolate is a universal color, and may be substituted for any other color~

Now, I have just a couple of problems with this diet....I can't eat grapefruit~too much acid & I don't like it, I would rather eat raw spinach than steamed, I don't like mushrooms, and don't want  nuts with my ice cream.  But other than than, I am good to go!

The saving grace may be that chocolate is a universal color and may be substituted for anything food of any other color!  I would much rather eat chocolate cheesecake than just plain!

You may want to bookmark this page, so that when you start your January diet ~ you can easily reference this during the day!   

Monday, December 3, 2012

Its December Already!

This last year has flown by.  And now its December again.  We are still simplifying & eliminating many traditions in our home associated with this time of year.  We aren't there, we don't have it all figured out, we aren't claiming to be experts, or trying to persuade anyone to our opinions/convictions/etc.  We are trying to listen to the Lord and go from there.  And we are happy with all our changes.

Our gift giving has been accomplished ~ or will be after we mail off 3 gifts in the coming weeks.  We went with a theme gift for our children (pinterest inspired) and it was a hit!  We've got 3 sons with birthdays this month.  James will be 29 on Dec. 18 & our twins Andy & Rob will be 25 (a quarter of a century guys!)  And Allens fiancee Jennifer has a Dec. 18th birthday also!  There will be lots of birthday celebrations at our home this month!

We are planning a trip to GA after the 25th.  I haven't seen Allen & Jennifer since the middle of August ~ and I need an Allen hug!  And I am excited to see Jennifers hair cut in person ~ she donated her long hair to Locks of Love in November.

Our Christmas music special at church is this weekend.  We've had a great time being in the choir and worshiping the Lord with this wonderful group of folks!  And there has been lots of fun and laughter along the way!  We had a 2 hour rehearsal yesterday, then we have Wed. night, Sat. afternoon, and Sunday night.  What a week!

On Sat., Amy and I went through 6 or more rubbermaid crates, sorting out all of our holiday decorations.  We had piles all over Gregs pool table.  There were stacks for each child, plus a handy trash can, and a donation box.  All of the remaining decorations should fit into 1 box.  We have plans to do the rest of the attic too!

I need some advice from you other bloggers out there ~ I've had blogspot since the beginning...but I am out of space for pictures/images.  To continue here, I would have to pay a monthly fee for more space ~ thats not happening.  So who would be a good one to switch too?  I know some folks have wordpress.  What are the pro's & con's of other blog sources?  I don't like not being able to share any pictures ~ so any help would be appreciated.